12 julio, 2024

Ebro River: route, tributaries, characteristics, flora

He Ebro river It is located in the Iberian Peninsula and has an approximate length of 930 km with an average flow of 426 m3/s, for which it is recognized as the longest and mightiest river located exclusively in Spanish territory.

Its basin bathes 83,093 km2, has a triangular shape and is located on a tectonic trench formed by the elevation of three mountain systems: to the north the Pyrenees, to the southwest the Iberian system and to the east the Catalan mountain range.

This important natural resource has witnessed the history of the peninsula and humanity. Through its waters, various peoples explored and occupied the territory, taking advantage of the fertility of its banks for their subsistence.

The richness of its basin and its strategic location in the Mediterranean made it a territory coveted by ancient powers such as Carthage and Rome.

The cultural wealth of the cities that were established on its banks is the product of occupations and conquests by Celts, Gauls, Romans and Arabs over the years. This mixture provides an extraordinary character to the region, the surviving monuments are considered heritage sites for humanity and are also an important economic activity due to their tourist attraction.



Geological origins and first settlements

Geological studies affirm that the Ebro was constituted as a marine basin of the Atlantic 37 million years ago. Tectonic movements and the uplift of the systems that limit its basin separated it from the Atlantic Ocean and turned it into a saltwater lake.

Two phenomena occurred simultaneously: the original lake dried up and the Cardona salt mines were formed. Since then, the pit occupied by the lake began to receive fresh water from the rivers that descend from the mountains that surround it. Little by little, the trench filled up and between 8 and 12 million years ago it began to overflow and find its way to the Mediterranean Sea.

The Ebro river has been a channel of cultural and commercial communication between the populations that settled on its banks since ancient times. There are records of settlements from Suessetanos, Sedetanos, Celtiberians, Ilergetes, Lacetanos and Gauls in pre-Roman times.

Wars and control of the Roman Empire

Between 218 B.C. C. and 201 a. C. the second Punic war developed between Carthage and Rome, the two powers that dominated the Mediterranean Sea in its western part and disputed control of the Iberian Peninsula. Within this framework, the first naval battle took place on the Ebro River, pitting 40 Carthaginian ships against 55 Romans.

The Carthaginian contingent was defeated due to a surprise attack by Roman forces. As a consequence they lost resources, the naval domain of the peninsula and alliances with native tribes that switched to the Roman side.

Between 29 a. C. and 19 a. C. the Cantabrian wars developed, clashes between Rome and the Asturian and Cantabrian peoples who inhabited the territory currently occupied by the communities of Asturias, Cantabria, León and Palencia. The Roman Empire, which had greater organization and resources, definitively surpassed the tribes that faced it and managed to completely occupy the peninsula.

With this victory, a long series of conflicts for control of the territory came to an end and the era of political and economic stability began, with the integration of the Iberian Peninsula into the Roman Empire that lasted until the 3rd century AD. c.

Visigoths, Arabs and Christians

The domain of the peninsula passed from the hands of the Romans to those of the Visigoths between the year 416 and the first decade of the 8th century AD. C., when the weakness caused by the struggle between two Visigothic noble families, the plague and the high fiscal pressure on the population, served as the setting for the Muslim invasion of the peninsula.

The south and center of the peninsula, including the Ebro valley, offered little resistance to the Muslim advance, while to the north the tribes that inhabited the mountains faced the invaders and founded the Kingdom of Asturias.

The political instability of the basin, plagued by conflicts and alliances, did not see its end until the Modern Age, with the unification through marriage of the crowns of the medieval kingdoms of Aragon and Castile.

Civil war

Between July and November 1938, the Battle of the Ebro River took place, pitting the Nationalist faction against the Republican faction during the Spanish Civil War. The battle took place between Amposta and Mequinenza, a front of more than 60 km.

The Republicans were forced to retreat across the river to its left bank. With a balance of more than 20,000 casualties between both sides, the defeat of the Republicans in the Ebro was decisive for the final loss of the Second Republic.

Source and mouth


The Ebro river crosses Spain from north to south, located in the east of the country. It is born in the Hijar river, in Pico Tres Mares at 2,000 meters above sea level, located in the Autonomous Community of Cantabria.

After 20 km from its source, the Hijar River goes underground for a stretch of approximately 800 m and resurfaces in Fontibre, a place that until 1987 was erroneously indicated as its source.

River mouth

After traveling 930 km, it flows into the Mediterranean Sea through its delta located in the province of Tarragona. The accumulation of sediments formed the Island of Buda, which divides the stream into two arms.


On its way to the sea, the Ebro bathes the territories of the Autonomous Community of Cantabria and from there it passes to Miranda de Ebro in the Autonomous Community of Castilla y León. Then comes Haro and Logroño in the Autonomous Community of La Rioja.

It leaves for Tudela, located in the Foral Community of Navarra, crosses Zaragoza in the Autonomous Community of Aragon, from there it runs forming its delta towards Tortosa in the province of Tarragona, located in the Autonomous Community of Catalonia.

Its delta occupies 330 km2, 20% of this territory being protected by the Ebro Delta Natural Park. This was created in August 1983 within the framework of the Unesco Program on Man and the Biosphere.

cities it crosses

In its history rich in events of exploration and conquest, many towns settled on its banks and over the centuries large cities were consolidated, among which are:


Zaragoza is a cosmopolitan city with more than 2,000 years of history. The capital of the Autonomous Community of Aragon has impressive monuments in its streets that speak of its history through Roman, Muslim, Jewish and Christian traces, some of which have been declared World Heritage Sites by Unesco.

The Ebro River crosses the city from west to east for 10 km where there are plenty of pedestrian walkways and outdoor activities to enjoy nature without leaving the city.

In addition to its cultural appeal, Zaragoza has a wide variety of proposals that adapt to all styles, such as walks through the city, artistic and gastronomic activities, excursions in its surroundings and a nightlife that invites you to enjoy yourself.


Logroño is another capital touched by the waters of the Ebro River. Located in the Autonomous Community of La Rioja, it is rich in history and traditions that began in the Middle Ages. It forms part of the Camino de Santiago and to this it owes its rise and much of its cultural wealth with the passage of artists, merchants and pilgrims on their way to Compostela.

The Ebro crosses the city from west to east and two bridges connect its banks, one of which dates from the 11th century, over which the Jacobean route passes at its entrance to the city.

Many of its monuments are related to Christian pilgrimage, such as the Pilgrims’ hostel, the Pilgrims’ fountain, the Church of Santiago and the Cathedral of Santa María la Redonda, famous for its representation of Calvary by the Renaissance master Michelangelo.

The Rioja gastronomy also stands out, which thanks to the richness of its orchards offers fresh, high-quality products in exquisite dishes to the delight of locals and visitors.


Tudela is a city located in the Foral Community of Navarra. Founded in the year 802, this city of Islamic origin is a living example of coexistence and cultural miscegenation between Muslims, Jews and Mozarabs.

In its streets, Gothic, Renaissance, Romanesque and Baroque styles are combined with innumerable monuments of great historical interest.

This town invites you to explore it on foot to enjoy its culture in multiple squares and cobbled streets. Its gastronomy is largely nourished by local products grown on the banks of the Ebro.


Tortosa is located in the province of Tarragona, in the Autonomous Community of Catalonia. It has monuments of medieval, renaissance, baroque and modernist architecture, considered as a whole a National Monument of Spain.

In addition to its architectural wealth, another attraction of this city is its privileged location between two parks: the Els Ports Natural Park and the Ebro Delta, which allows you to fully enjoy the landscapes, climate and biodiversity.

There are spaces specially dedicated to the observation of the birds that inhabit the protected areas of the parks and multiple routes for exploration, both on foot and by bicycle, throughout the Ebro delta. There are also plenty of water activities in the delta area and on the coast


The Ebro River receives its waters from the rivers located in the mountains that limit its course. Among the most important are the rivers Oca, Aragón, Tirón, Matarraña, Najerilla, Guadalope, Iregua, Martín, Leza, Gállego, Bayas, Cidacos, Huerva, Alhama, Jalón, Queiles, Huecha, Nela, Ega, Jerea, Zadorra and Omecillo.

Characteristics of the Ebro river

This important natural resource is one of the fundamental pillars of the development of the region that bathes with its waters. A communication route par excellence since antiquity and a source of natural benefits has allowed an important agricultural and tourist development in the region.


Due to the climatic diversity that develops in its basin from 2,000 meters above sea level, it has two important floods: the first occurs in spring between March and May as a result of the melting of snow on the surrounding mountains, and the second from December to February due to oceanic rains from the Atlantic Ocean.

In general, the flood season is considered to extend over a single period from October to May. The dry season occurs from July to October.


The wealth of sediments that the Ebro valley receives is a source of great agricultural and livestock prosperity. The cultivation of vegetables, rice, fruits and olives abounds. The river’s waters have been used since ancient times with the construction of numerous canals and reservoirs to control flooding.

The Ebro Valley contributes 1/5 of agricultural production and 1/3 of meat production to the Spanish economy thanks to the fundamental advantage of access to water, its storage and distribution; and the availability of quality land…

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